Project Managers will proudly declare, “This project is a major success–we are delivering on-time and within budget.” That’s a claim globally and amongst Kenyan Project Managers
When you take time to talk to other stakeholders of these projects, you hear a much different story. In many cases, the customer’s version describes a product that was delivered that does not meet their expectations. In other cases, the customer’s version describes processes utilized to deliver the project that were not very collaborative or customer friendly.
The need for efficient and resourceful project management is shared across public and private sector companies in all industries, including: construction, high tech, nonprofits, manufacturing, finance and insurance, human resources, health care and pharmaceuticals in Kenya. Project management is a necessary component of every successful organization, and, even in a down economy, the demand for these skills keeps going up.
Here are some ways to improve the Success of the Project:
Project Organization – Forming the project team sounds pretty basic, but it is amazing how many project teams launch the project without performing stakeholder analysis, and defining the project organization. Important elements of the project organization include project sponsors, the core team, and understanding other key stakeholders. Getting the “right” people engaged in the “right” roles has a significant impact on the project teams’ ability to meet the needs of the organization.
Baseline Plan – As a project manager you are introduced to new situations all the time (new clients and new projects), and it is extremely important to hit the ground running leading project teams through the planning process. Adapting a consistent planning approach from client to client, and project to project, significantly improves outcomes of the project planning process (both time to market and quality of the plans). Strong baseline plans represent the foundation for a successful project delivery process.
Measure Project Performance – This best practice area involves keeping your eye on the appropriate project performance measures to proactively identify potential problems, and engage the team to identify and implement corrective actions. Effective use of project performance metrics helps the project manager identify and implement the appropriate project delivery adjustments before they become “big problems” that stakeholders are not quick to forget.
Collaborate & Manage Stakeholders Engagement- Project activities has a significant impact on how people feel at the end of the project. Project managers enhance the collaboration on a project by facilitating effective team meetings, implementing collaboration processes & tools, and providing consistent and useful project updates.
Manage Change & avoid scope creep – Change is an inevitable component of managing a project – nothing works out exactly as planned. The project manager effectively manages change by maintaining the appropriate balance between control and discipline to manage to the baseline plan, and flexibility to adapt the plans to meet customer expectations. The level of control and rigor around analyzing and approving changes should be appropriately “sized” to both the organization and the project.
Close & Handover the Project – At the end of a project, many project managers are busy preparing for their next project or client, and miss a prime opportunity to leave a lasting impact on the client organization. Project closure starts with effectively shutting down project activities, validating all product deliverables are complete and key product issues closed, and smoothly transitioning resources to new roles. The second aspect of this best practice area is preparing the project performance report (also referred to as the post-project assessment). Creating the project performance report includes gathering input from key stakeholders, and identifying improvement actions to be implemented either as part of the closeout process or for future projects. These improvement actions can significantly influence stakeholders’ perception of project success.